Friday, August 30, 2013

Introducing Design Thinking to School Faculty

On Wednesday, I was part of a facilitation team leading a 3-hour workshop for our whole school's faculty and staff (about 100 people) introducing Design Thinking.  It was wildly successful!

If you so desire, you can read our "lesson plan" here: Intro to DT Lesson Plan
You can also find our slide deck here: Intro to DT Deck

Huge, giant, enormous, unending thanks to Mary Cantwell at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Jennifer Chan of Exhibit Change, and Ellen Deutscher at for their input and support in developing our plan, and to my colleague and co-conspirator Shaye' Whitmer for co-facilitating with me!


- Our version of Jenn's Oreo exercise to highlight divergent experience was a huge hit, and participants shared some hilariously divergent methods for eating Oreos.  Milk was sorely missed!

- We were quite proud of the final "HMW" offered to participants, and one of my brand-new-to-DT co-facilitators did an awesome job explaining our facilitator group first round of Empathize/Define to get to that "HMW"!

From: Let's reconsider and redesign our experience with food... To:
How Might We support keeping energy positive and healthy throughout the school day?

- Groups interviewing each other, sharing stories, and re-defining the problem statement led to a huge wealth of different areas of focus, almost NONE of which had a focus on food at all!

- Brainstorming butcher paper sheets were wild, colorful, and groups really got WAAAY outside the box in their thinking! (There wasn't as much "visual" as we hoped, and more "written words" than expected, but...)

- As soon as we released groups for prototyping, groups dashed to the materials tables to pick up construction items!  Paper plates, pipe cleaners, Pringles containers, construction paper, and more!

- Team-to-team sharing after the first round of prototyping was positive, people utilized Greg Bamford's "I like, I wish, What if?" feedback scaffold, and groups actually reformed following that first sharing!  Two pairs of groups merged (from 4 groups to 2), and one group split in half (from 1 group to 2).

- (When I was asked for "permission" for these changes to happen, my first instinct was to clench up and wonder whether that was "okay," but we totally rolled with it!  Look at me... all flexible-like!)

The Final Products, delivered in one 1 minute elevator speeches!

1.) creating a new position in the school: The Recharge Coach!
2.) creating personal "mood meters" for everyone to self-monitor their energy levels
3.) creating mini-sensory-control chairs, including headphones and scent masks, for breaks
4.) implementing "UnTime" for everyone to pursue their own passions (Howdy, #GeniusHour!)
5.) creating a new committee: EDG@E (Experience Design Group @ Evergreen !)
6.) three different groups designed
7.) relaxation, play, and snack spaces
8.) into our upcoming building project!
9.) every staff and student keeping a "Smile File" to access when feeling down/stressed
10.) re-structuring the school day to include early-start/early-end options and late-start/late-end options.

I'm madly in love with the variety of solutions from huge new spaces to school organizational changes to small implement-it-tomorrow ideas.

I'm still working on typing up everyone's answers to the final reflections questions, especially "What do you NEED to move forward with Design Thinking?" and will add those soon.  There are lots of requests for a committee to support teachers in implementing ideas in their classrooms, as well as requests for ways to use design thinking in decision-making processes within the school!

Next Friday (yes, on the third day of school), we'll be presenting Design Thinking to our school Board of Trustees, and will present these outcomes as well as give the Trustees some playful experiences of their own.

Monday, August 19, 2013

#SXSWedu PanelPicker is live!

Today, Monday, August 19 - The #SXSWedu 2014 PanelPicker is live!  There are 711 proposals for sessions highlighting innovative work happening at the intersections of education and technology, workshops playing with new products and techniques in education, and conversations around major problems that need solving in improving educational outcomes for ALL kids!

As an Advisory Board member, I'm going to be working my butt off for the next few weeks, evaluating session proposals to help select the best, most innovative, and most important to furthering positive conversations in education space for the 2014 SXSWedu.

As a SXSWedu participant educator (and 2013 alum), I'm also looking for sessions I personally want to participate in and promoting the bejeezus out of the sessions I hope to help lead!  (I know that any individual can only formally speak in one session, so if more than 1 of my current 4 sessions is chosen, I'll be looking for awesome colleagues to take my place on some of them!)

Please visit and up-vote my proposed sessions!

Probing Needs & Prototyping Solutions: DT4EdTech
with Jennifer Chan, Stephanie Cerda, and Adam Taylor

In The Trenches with K12 design thinking
with Trey Boden, Dan Ryder, and Jennifer Chan

Lean In EDU Circles
with Alyssa Gallagher, Kami Thodarson, and Mary Cantwell

Win-Win! Strategies for EdTech/Educator Engagement
with Stephanie Sandifer, Dion Lim, and Jay Goyal


Also check out these other awesome educators and their sessions, and up-vote them!

Stop.Collaborate&Listen: Teachers&Edtech Team Up by Stephanie Cerda and Ben Stern

Developing a 1:1 Culture in Schools by Martin Moran

Empower Your Students Thru 1:1 ACCESS by Jason Markey

SAMR SLAMR: Maximizing Learning Potential in App by Gabriella Meyers, Julie Garcia, Josh Mika

Innovation+Social Media in the classroom= NOW! by Don Wettrick

Primary Source Research and Narrative Presentation by Julie Wilcott and Richard Perry
Bridging the Digital Divide with BYOD Equity by Michael Mills, Tim Clark, Jessica Herring, and Sandy Kendell


If you're a classroom teacher and want me to help promote your session as well, let me know and I'll add it!